Cert: U Runtime: 95 mins Director: James Frawley Cast: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Mel Brooks, Bob Hope and Orson Wells
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers, and me
The Muppets are back this weekend after a long absence, but way back in 1979 Jim Henson & Co brought us the first magical journey into the world of Muppet movies. So this weeks blast from the past is The Muppet Movie. One day, while Kermit the Frog sits in a swamp with his banjo after singing “Rainbow Connection”, a Hollywood agent named Bernie comes by in a boat and urges him to pursue a career in Tinseltown. Kermit takes his advice and goes west. He soon meets Fozzie Bear, an unsuccessful stand-up comedian in a restaurant, and convinces him to come along. The frog is also noticed by Doc Hopper, the owner of a frog leg restaurant chain who wants Kermit to be his mascot. As a frog, Kermit is disgusted by this, so he refuses and leaves with Fozzie. On their road trip across the country, Kermit and Fozzie meet other Muppets who join them, including Miss Piggy (who soon becomes Kermit’s love interest) and Gonzo. Unfortunately, as they all try to make their way to Hollywood, Doc Hopper, assisted by Max, is willing to do anything to force Kermit to become his restaurant chain’s mascot, so Kermit finds himself in increasing danger!
Who doesn’t love the muppets?! Impossible it is to watch them without getting some kind of warm, fuzzy feeling inside. So, I guess what’s important is that this movie seemed to very successfully capture what makes the muppets so special. I don’t remember much about the details of the plot but the various moments and characters in the film I recall quite fondly. In fact, there was quite a nostalgic atmosphere to the whole movie but without being self-conscious in any bad way. Refreshing for someone who possibly gets too hung up on meticulous details and technique; the “magic” transcends all that other stuff. ‘Tis indeed what movies are made of.So, how does the film achieve these things? Hmmm, nice question! Stumped am I? Let’s see. Really, I feel like it’s quite simple. The filmmakers believe in their material and don’t take themselves too seriously in the process. I probably wouldn’t say the film has many truly inspired moments, but it does have a certain life to it (that funnily enough a great many “real people” movies lack). A zest. You really want to believe in these funny little people and their adventures. They also have a certain innocence about them that makes them all the more endearing.
Generally I get the impression that the people that made the movie just weren’t afraid to try whatever felt right to them at the time which gives the whole thing quite a loose feel. Kind of like a really accessible and enjoyable extended jazz session. Lots of talent, little predictability and plenty of warm personalities coming through. The cameos were of course a bunch of nice surprises for instance. Maybe I don’t feel I have much to say about it because I was half-asleep when I saw it (and/or as I write this review). Anyway, I’m sort of semi-repeating myself here but I really liked the sense of family the movie had. Full of love I suppose you might say. Again, a feeling of nostalgia comes to mind which not many films manage to achieve so effectively or effortlessly.And to repeat myself once more, one of the film’s best charms is its very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Like the Nathaniel Hawthorne quote about happiness being (like) a butterfly, so The Muppet Movie greatly succeeds partially by not seeming to try to do so. Same with beauty being best undiscovered or untouched or unforced or something like that. Anyway, if that sounds sappy, I also reckon it was pretty hilarious.So, all in all, this movie was very funny, touching and difficult not to smile along to. Plus it features lots of great music! Highly recommended to all humans, both the young and the young at heart. 8.0/10